I’m a fourth-degree black-belt in a multi-disciplinary martial art of The Way of the Warrior, Bushido. I taught for almost thirty years, developing kids through the ranks, helping them grow into powerful beings in the world. And in some ways, I guess I’m still doing that with my clients. I bring them from feeling like they want to be bigger in the world to those who not only have power, but in turn lift others to feel more empowered.
There are certain pitfalls and dangers that are concomitant with advancing along the path of the martial arts. They are the lessons we need to look at and they become the collective push needed to keep going.
When I was coming up through the ranks, the drive to keep going was fueled by the knowledge I was gaining. My thinking was that being a black belt would make me a super-human somehow. In some ways, it’s like looking up to the leaders of major corporations and modeling yourself after them. In the 80s,...
Four… Three… Two… One…
Did you know that most people can’t tolerate even four seconds of silence in a conversation? Four seconds?
When I work with teams and leaders, I’ll hold a silent space, counting eighteen seconds in my head. The squirming starts at about four seconds and almost invariably, someone says something to break the silence at about nine seconds. What’s funny is that it’s often the leader in the group that breaks the silence.
Leaders need to be the ones to actually hold the space.
That’s how safety is created. You entertain the idea that everyone has room to engage and be seen or heard at their comfort level. And then… as odd as this sounds, the key is not to run over that.
When I speak about being deliberately, actively, positively uplifting of others, I also comment on how important it is to see each other, human to human. Acknowledging each other, one to...
Looking at my formula for great MindsetMagic! you’ll see that in the middle of M-A-G-I-C is where everything balances.
Here, the G stands for three things, each of which will serve to make you more powerfully authentic and fulfilled in the world.
The first is Gratitude – sure there’s a lot going on. Yes, this past year was tough. And still, don’t you have so much for which you can be grateful? Think about it, on what device are you reading this? And it’s connected to what? And you’re operating that device, that runs on power. And you’re not naked and starving. So… start there. What else might you have in your life for which you could find gratitude? Who else in your life?
Which brings us to Grace – we need to give ourselves a little grace. And we need to give each other a little grace. This past year has been tough on everyone. You’ve grown and changed. Your perspective and what you value are...
We’re all leaders! People notice you. The truth is, you are being watched. No, it’s not some paranoid thing, it’s the same way you’ll notice something about someone in the grocery store, at a restaurant, or even with family members, they’re noticing subtle things about you, too.
And that means, you’re a leader - at home, at work, in the community.
You’re a leader.
I won’t go into the “x-number of traits of good leaders.” Heck, I’m guilty of having put together a dirty-dozen list in the past. While there are volumes out there, literally tons of books and articles on the subject of leadership traits, each is, in my opinion, simply opinion.
No matter how many other traits there are, the best trait of a leader is someone who knows what he/she/they value and can live into that authentically.
And there are five steps to grow into that level of powerful authenticity. This...
Burnout is a thing. It almost feels like depression, and you might feel just a bit anhedonic, which is the technical term for the inability to feel joy. This past year has taken a lot out of each of us. It’s felt very personal, and it’s been overly politicized. We’re coming out of a PAN-Demic, meaning that it was global… wide spread… around the world… and therefore, not personal.
Still, we stare at the same four walls, having gotten accustomed to working somewhere between 11 and 14 hours a day (so say the statistics). It’s easy to get up and flip on the computer to “just check email really quickly.” The rationalization is that if you can clear some emails out before breakfast, then the rest of the day goes more smoothly.
That’s not how it works. Burnout comes from feeling like there’s no end in sight mixed with a sense of questioning why this even matters.
The bottom line is that YOU LOST...
The topic of Excellence is particularly near and dear to my heart. It’s a value I seek in others and one I hold dearly for my personal life and my brand.
A little while back, during a casual conversation over a sushi dinner with a friend and client, I sought information about expectations as I prepared for presenting for his team the following day.
“John, what expectations do you have for me in my presentation tomorrow?”
“Excellence,” came John’s reply.
“Challenge accepted,” slipped from my lips as I smiled, lifting another sushi roll piece with my chopsticks.
I know, you might be lost at the sushi part. I happen to enjoy it, okay?
My friend mentioned that he expected excellence and I felt my body come alive.
The thing is that my friend wasn’t challenging me. I took it as such. I took his comment as a push to level up even further.
What I didn’t know is that he was endorsing...
I grew up the nice guy.
My super-power as a kid was in knowing how to placate, how to “make nice,” and make sure that everyone else was okay. I did a lot of going along to get along. And that meant that the me that could have been didn’t really show up.
We all go through the existential search for self. “Who am I, really?” is an age-old question. The problem was that I didn’t ever pause to ask that question until I became an adult.
The good news is that once asked, it led me on a quest to help myself and others.
I was so “nice” that I was dumped right before my senior prom in high-school and told I was a “good sport” for going anyway. I got into management and was threatened with being fired because I was being too nice.
Is it possible to be too nice?
I was smart, affable, funny, and… nice. Wasn’t that okay?
I’ve since learned that yes, nice matters.
Isn’t it great to share experiences with other people? When you’ve had a great vacation or enjoyed a great movie or meal somewhere, you want to let others know about it.
In an effort to connect and share in the experience, great conversations get hijacked and turned into something that actually serves to disconnect rather than to engage. We interject with a shared experience and the comment of “me too” doesn’t build the sought rapport.
“I can’t wait to get back to traveling.”
“Me too! Disneyland is my favorite and I can’t wait for it to open fully.”
(Obviously, this isn’t about the hashtag me too movement. That’s important for solidarity and awareness.)
Here, “me too” serves to take away from the other’s experience.
Instead, try inquiry.
“Traveling is great! Where do you want to go first?”
That step serves to...
Past, Present, and Future
We humans are funny creatures. We have wonderful imaginations and use them so poorly. Think about all of the trouble we’ve had. The truth is you’ve come through 100% of the hard times you’ve had.
You’ve survived. At the very bare minimum, you’ve survived every single one of the hard times you’ve had in your life. And yet…
If you’re like most people, you carry the past with you. You cringe at old thoughts as waves of guilt course through your body. The trouble we had in the past we can’t fix. We can make amends today, but we can’t go back to change what was.
That goes for wishing for a different childhood.
And it’s true for any transgressions you might have had.
Guilt is there to remind you that you have choice. Guilt itself is your way of continuing to pay the price for something. You’ve already experienced the “wrong-ness” of...
To be clear, you must focus on the right thing. Each thing you focus on gives a new meaning.
So you must put the EmPHAsis on the corRECT SyLAHble!
What you focus on matters.
Let’s look at a simple sentence and you can extrapolate that concept to pretty much everything in your life.
Do I Need To Do This?
DO I need to do this? I mean do I? Is this a thing I need to do? DO I need to do this?
Do I need to do this? Can anyone else do this or do I need to be the one to do it?
Do I NEED to do this? Sorting the pantry, taking out the garbage, watching NetFlix, getting lost in TikTok videos… Do I NEED to do that? Yeah, think about priorities!
Do I need TO do this? Is it something that’s coming? Something to look forward to?
Do I need to DO this? Is it something to think about or take action on? And when?
Do I need to do THIS? I mean, there are a million other things to do. Is this the...
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